Friday, July 22, 2016

WHAT I LEARNED ABOUT THE WRITING GAME
You only fail if you stop writing! ~ Ray Bradbury

Two years ago, I retired from the rat race and found myself free to do anything I wanted to do. Well, almost anything. So what's next in my life story? 

I've always wanted to write fulltime. I've had short stories and articles published in world-wide markets over the years so I thought, what the heck? I'll write!

I spent the next several months dabbling in writing, mostly articles for magazines. It was fun. I wrote some stuff, sent it off to be published and sat back to wait for the accolades and money to roll in. Easy--right? Well, not so much. I have a very thin skin and get my feelings hurt easily. Any author will tell you that doesn't go very well with submitting manuscripts to editors. Dozens of rejection came my way in those first few months.

I finally completed a novel. I figured it might have a better chance at publication. It has received some impressive rejections. Editors can be pretty blunt. One editor thinks it is a good story and well-written, but a subject that has been "done to death." Another one thinks I am hopeless as a writer and, basically, a worthless human being. That manuscript is sitting on the shelf or I should say sitting on my hard drive. I'm trying to grow tougher skin before I send it off again or try my hand at another novel.

I nursed my wounds and stayed away from my computer for a while. I watched TV, read a bunch of books, cleaned the house--well not really, but the housecleaning part sounds good. Then, encouraged by my famous prolific author daughter and my equally talented content strategist daughter, I found a website that pays (ghost) writers. That meant that no one would know if I was rejected because someone else used my work and signed their name. No harsh feedback and no nasty form letters from editors. 

I sold several articles and two e-books on that site. It satisfied me for a while, plus I was earning a little money. The key word here is "little" money. But the truth be known, writers don't write for the money alone. They write because they must and because they crave the feedback. That's something I wasn't getting--feedback. 

So I've decided to go back to writing under my own name. While I gather my courage for the big commitment of another full length novel, I am writing short stories and sharpening my skills. My short stories are usually under 5,000 words. I believe this fast-paced world has a place for quick reads, plus those of us who are slowing down a bit or have short attention spans like to finish a book in one sitting. My Kindle eBooks take 10 to 20 minutes to read. Wish me luck.


What about you? Are you tough-skinned or do you shy away from what you really love because of fear of rejection? 

4 comments:

  1. So glad you're back in! Yes, feedback can suck but it also can be great. We have to somehow shut those negative voices out. After all, think of the most popular books of all time. There are many people who hate them, many people who love them. Same with TV shows and movies. You just have to realize that it's all personal taste and keep plugging ahead!

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  2. Thanks for the encouragement, Stephanie. It's tough. I love to write but hate to put it out there and invite criticism. Constructive feedback is great--it's the mean hateful comments with malicious intent that are so discouraging.

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  3. Even with my alligator hide, rejection during my learning process has given me short bouts of depression. Luckily, I did not get the real mental health depression gene. Even though, I deliberately write characters and situations that are not me; there is still a personal element out there. So I felt those pricks between my scales. Now for a loud growl.

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  4. Thanks for stopping by Ann. My insecurities inhibit my writing. I go strong for a while and then hit a snag and wonder why I ever thought I could write anything anyone would want to read. It's a good thing I'm not an artist. Unlike van Gogh, I wouldn't have any ears left!

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